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Court sacks Imo PDP Reps member, Ikenga Ugochinyere

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Hon Ikenga Ugochinyere

…orders INEC to conduct supplementary poll within 90 days

 The Imo Sate National and State House of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal has sacked a member of the House of Representatives, Ikenga Ugochinyere, who was elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

In a unanimous decision on Sunday, a three-member panel of the tribunal which conducted its proceedings in Nasarawa State, held that Ugochinyere was not validly nominated by the PDP to contest the Ideato North/South Federal Constituency election that held on February 25.

Consequently, it ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to within 90 days, conduct a supplementary election in the constituency.

The tribunal, in its lead judgement that was delivered by its Chairman, Justice Anthony Olotu Akpovi, specifically directed the electoral body to conduct the supplementary poll in 55 polling units where elections did not hold on February 25.

It held that the PDP and its candidate should be excluded from the supplementary election.

The judgement followed a petition that was lodged before the tribunal by candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr. Abazu Chika Benson.

Cited as 1st to 5th respondents in the petition marked: EPT/IM/HR/10/2023, were; INEC, Ugochinyere, PDP, candidate of the Labour Party, Obi Paschal Chigozie and his party, the LP.

It will be recalled that INEC had declared the PDP candidate, Ugochinyere, as winner of the election with a total of 13, 026 votes.

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Whereas the candidate of the LP, Chigozie, came second with 5,696 votes, the petitioner who was sponsored by the APC, came third with a total of 2, 368 votes.

However, dissatisfied with the outcome of the election, the APC candidate filed a petition wherein he contended that Ugochinyere was not qualified to participate in the House of Reps contest.

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The petitioner, among other things, argued that all the votes that were credited to the PDP candidate, amounted to wasted votes.

He told the tribunal that contrary to the express provision of the Electoral Act, the PDP, conducted its primary election in a venue that was outside the constituency.

In its judgement, the tribunal stressed that documentary and oral evidence that was laid before it, established that the primary election the PDP conducted on May 25, 2022, which produced Ugochinyere as its candidate, was held at Aladinma Shopping Mall, a location that was outside Ideato North/South Federal Constituency.

Relying on the provision of section 84 (5) (c)of the Electoral Act 2022, the tribunal held that PDP’s primary election was invalid.

It held that a valid candidate could not have emerged from an invalid primary election.

“Failure of the 3rd respondent (PDP) to abide by the sacrosanct provision of the Electoral Act invalidated its sponsorship of the 2nd respondent,” Justice Akpovi held.

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The tribunal maintained that for a primary election to be valid, it must be done in compliance with section 29 (1) of the Electoral Act.

It held that in view of the fact that Ugochinyere was not validly nominated, he was, therefore, not qualified as at the time the House of Reps election held.

More so, the tribunal held that owing to the principle of margin of lead, candidate of the LP, Chigozie, could but be declared the winner of the seat, since INEC admitted that it could not hold election in 55 polling units in the constituency, owing to activities of unknown gunmen.

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It, therefore, directed INEC to conduct supplementary poll in the remaining polling units with a the parties participating, except the PDP.

Other members of the panel that concurred with the lead judgement, were; Justices Usman Kudu and Ibrahim Mohammed.

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Binance, OctaFX, Coinbase, others blocked over forex crisis (FULL LIST)

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Binance, OctaFX, Coinbase, others blocked over forex crisis (FULL LIST)

The Federal Government has moved against online platforms of Binance and other cryptocurrency firms over alleged manipulation of the forex market.

Binance is a digital assets platform which serves as a window for peer to peer transaction allowing users to advertise interest to sell or buy currencies of their choice.

On February 5, 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directed banks, non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), and other financial institutions (OFIs) to close accounts of persons or entities involved in cryptocurrency transactions.

The regulator also warned local financial institutions against dealing in crypto assets or facilitating payments for crypto exchanges.

CBN cited concerns over money laundering, terrorism financing, cybercrime, and the volatility of cryptocurrencies as reasons for the ban.

In December 2023, the Central Bank of Nigeria changed its stance on crypto assets and asked banks to disregard its February 2021 ban on crypto transactions.

This latest restriction on crypto websites is aimed at slowing currency speculation activities in the country, with Binance stating that its platform is not for currency pricing.

Bayo Onanuga, Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, argued that Binance and other crypto platforms should be banned from operating in Nigeria.

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He said the cryptocurrency trading platform is facing restrictions in multiple jurisdictions such as the United States, Singapore, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Reacting, Binance said its firm does not operate as a price discovery platform and FX rates are determined by complex forces that have nothing to do with the company.

The trading company said it provides a market-driven peer-to-peer (P2P) platform that is not meant to be a proxy for currency pricing in Nigeria.

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The platform users have complained about their inability to buy dollars.

The platforms blocked include:

– Binance

– Forextime

– OctaFX

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– Crypto

– FXTM

– Coinbase

– Kraken

– Kucoin

– Bybit

There are also many other platforms used in the cryptocurrency transaction in Nigeria.

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Military warns Nigerians calling for coup over economic hardship

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Military warns Nigerians calling for coup over economic hardship
• Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa
The military has issued a warning to those calling for a coup against President Bola Tinubu’s administration on account of the hardship in Nigeria.

Nigeria is currently facing one of its worst economic crises in history, triggering protests in different parts of the country.

Some people have said if things do not get addressed on time, the military could stage a coup and oust the government of President Bola Tinubu.

Reacting to this, Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, said those insinuating such do not mean well for the country, warning that the law would catch up with them.

Musa said the Armed Forces would continue to do the needful to protect the country’s democracy.

He spoke while responding to questions from newsmen shortly after he commissioned the main entrance of the 6 Division, Nigerian Army and Officers Transit Accommodation, both at the Division Headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.

While admitting that the country was experiencing some challenges, he said coup calls were improper because nations achieve more and develop faster under a democracy.

“Whoever is making that call (coup) does not love Nigeria. We want to make it very clear that the Armed Forces of Nigeria are here to protect democracy. We all want democracy and we do better under democracy. And so we will continue to support democracy. And any of those ones that are calling for anything other than Democracy are evil people and I think they don’t mean well for Nigeria.

“And they should be very careful because the law will come after them. We can see that with democracy a lot of things are happening in Nigeria. Yes, we are going through trying periods, I mean in life nothing is hundred percent.”

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He emphasized that what is needed is for citizens to be patient and give their support to the Tinubu government to succeed and put the enemies of the state calling for a coup to shame.

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“Everybody goes through a trying period in life, and it is what you do with them. You can see the government putting efforts to ensure that we come out better. And it is when you go through difficulties and come out better you will really appreciate what it is to build a nation. And so we are going through our trying period, but I can assure Nigerians that it will get better.

“All we need is for all of us to put our hands together to ensure that we defeat those enemies of the government, those enemies of this country that don’t want us to succeed. We will surely succeed and the Armed Forces are here to support the Government in ensuring that we develop, we succeed and to see that there is peace in Nigeria.”

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Enugu govt withdraws fraudulent approvals obtained by property developers

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Enugu govt withdraws fraudulent approvals obtained by property developers
Executive Chairman ECTDA, Mr Uche Anya at the press briefing in Enugu on Thursday

Enugu State Government, on Thursday, decried what it called worrisome activities of some developers parading fraudulent approvals.

Executive Chairman of the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, ECTDA, Mr Uche Anya disclosed this while briefing journalists.

He said such fraudulent approvals have been withdrawn, vowing that the government would never succumb to blackmail.

Anya said, “it is very disheartening that in spite of all we have done, we are still facing challenges in our development control, we have some unscrupulous developers who call themselves investors, sabotaging our master plan, corrupting the system.

“We have instances where people secured approvals using the Certificate of Occupancy, C of O of a different area and passed it on for a property in another location.”

He cited a particular outfit operating in Independence Layout, a night club, which he said has a land title of a property in GRA but passed it on for another property in Independence Layout

“On top of that, they went out of their way and built things not approved.

“We have a similar instance opposite Fire Service, you will see a huge building that we don’t know what to make of it, whether to call it a hotel or complex or whatsoever, in variance to what was approved.

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“Then you go to the bank of Ekulu River, people who have jettisoned even the setback they signed up for and they are parading fake approvals, distorting our place, threatening our bridges, we cannot afford to have another collapsed bridge in Enugu. We must save Trans Ekulu Bridge at all costs.

“So we want to tell the world that we are not afraid of doing the right thing.

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“We have withdrawn all the approvals that were fraudulently obtained and we intend to ensure that Enugu State, as much as we would do everything to encourage investors, will not allow unscrupulous people to violate our laws and end up blackmailing government officials.

“How on earth did someone get approval for a night club in Independence Layout using title documents of GRA?” Anya queried.

“All the people that have approval for one property and end up building up everywhere, we are also withdrawing such approvals.

“We need the world to understand that Enugu is a city of law and order and all our investment drives remain in front burner. All genuine investors have nothing to fear but those who want to corrupt the system have everything to worry about,” he added.

The ECTDA boss assured all genuine investors that Enugu State is open for investments.

He said, “we welcome people that want to make Enugu their preferred home. Enugu is home for all and this is what this administration is committed to.

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“Our 30 billion dollars investment drive for Enugu State is not a joke, and you can see that Governor Peter Mbah’s administration is not joking about it.

“You can see the massive infrastructural investment going on in all the places, you can see that we have paid attention to ease of doing business, the taxation system has been harmonized, this administration has zero tolerance for double taxation.

“You can see that E-government has taken firm root. For instance, we have eliminated corruption from our system of doing business.

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“In line with our ease of doing business, our land department is totally reformed, we can assure you that C of O in Enugu can be obtained within 72 hours if all your documentations are in order

“We also make it easy for every development approval to be processed and issued within 5 working days.”

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